Soul and Musical Theater: A Comparison of Two Vocal Styles

  • Hanna Hallqvist
    University College of Music Education, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Filipa M.B. Lã
    Centre for Social Sciences, University of Coimbra

    Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, University of Coimbra, Portugal
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  • Johan Sundberg
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Johan Sundberg, Department of Speech Music Hearing, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden and University College of Music Education, Stockholm, Sweden.
    University College of Music Education, Stockholm, Sweden

    Department of Speech Music Hearing, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden
    Search for articles by this author


      The phonatory and resonatory characteristics of nonclassical styles of singing have been rarely analyzed in voice research. Six professional singers volunteered to sing excerpts from two songs pertaining to the musical theater and to the soul styles of singing. Voice source parameters and formant frequencies were analyzed by inverse filtering tones, sung at the same fundamental frequencies in both excerpts. As compared with musical theater, the soul style was characterized by significantly higher subglottal pressure and maximum flow declination rate. Yet sound pressure level was lower, suggesting higher glottal resistance. The differences would be the effects of firmer glottal adduction and a greater frequency separation between the first formant and its closest spectrum partial in soul than in musical theater.

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